Sometimes I catch myself explaining Gamma Phi to others as the “nontraditional sorority experience” as if there’s supposed to be a specific way a sorority should be. Sorority life, especially at southern schools, comes with a lot of stereotypes and can come across as overwhelming, which in turn prevents a lot of amazing, unique women from reaching their own sisterhood. I was the same way as a freshman! I had many loose ideas of what sisterhood is, which in my head included lots of glitter, Lily Pulitzer letter shirts, and an obscure idea of the “big/little process.” This initially deterred me away from the sorority experience as a whole, especially when surrounded by girls who have been preparing for recruitment since they were younger. However after joining Gamma Phi, I realized there was way more to a sisterhood than what I had seen on social media. All of a sudden, I was surrounded by girls passionate about all sorts of hobbies. Wanna go hiking? Rollerskating? Or maybe just binge-watching horrible Netflix rom-coms… there’s always a sister down for the ride.
Three sisters in particular, Emma, Madeline, and Brianna, have shown me how unique Gamma Phi girls are. Emma and I met during the big/little process last fall after silently stalking each others’ Instagrams for the whole semester. On our first (of many) Moe’s dates, I remember laughing so hard I almost missed the last bus home! I got so lucky to have this little ball of energy as my little, and can always count on her to brighten my day.
Nobody else but Madeline would be equally excited to drive 25 minutes to go to a chain restaurant with me while blasting ‘4 Non Blondes’ in the car. And then was equally as excited to sit in the parking lot after one intense food coma. She is always down for an adventure, no matter how strange or far we’re going. Having a true, real friend like Madeline has helped me become more authentic within the sisterhood.
Gamma Phi has also acted as a creative outlet for me, especially being surrounded by other artistic sisters. I can say wholeheartedly that Brianna, our homecoming chair last year, is one of the most artistically talented people I know. Seeing her become so enthralled with designing and creating such a massive piece of art made me feel that much more at home. On the first night we properly hung out for the first time, I remember us saying how it was crazy we never knew how much we had in common. At the end of the day, I’m constantly learning new things about my sisters. Gamma Phi is no cookie-cutter mold focused on how you look, but rather a sisterhood focused on sharing your strengths and meeting a diverse group of young women.